People’s Party president Mike Mulongoti says it is unfair for Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima to say that the judiciary cannot respond to attacks from the public because Zambians deserve answers.
And Mulongoti says Patriotic Front officials must stop issuing statements on behalf of government because it has a spokesperson who is paid to do that.
Speaking when he featured on Radio Phoenix’s Let the People Talk yesterday, Mulongoti said it was unfair for Chief Justice Mambilima to say the judiciary could not respond to attacks because Zambians deserved answers.
He said if she could not respond, she could at least delegate that role to someone else.
“From yesterday I have been receiving calls from people trying to consult me on some statements that were made by the Chief Justice of Zambia rehearsing the operations of the Judiciary. And people do not seem to agree with her that’s she is seeing that the performance of the judiciary is tipped off and so they are questions to do with the electoral petition which is in court. The other thing they are asking is about the Constitutional Court which has left a sour taste in the mouths of many people. Now the Chief Justice is saying all is well and to do that, it is unfair,” Mulongoti said.
“She says she can’t respond to statements made by politicians and others about the performance of the Judiciary but I want to correct her that when I was Minister of Information, we made sure that every government department had a Public Relations Officer so if she can’t speak at least she’s got officers in the Judiciary to speak for her. So I think it’s not right for her to say I can’t speak because it’s right for me to do so because that’s a public service and mind you, she is an employee of the people of Zambia. Therefore, when the people of Zambia want an answer which she can’t give herself then she must delegate officials in her department to speak to the people.”
Muongoti also said it was not up to Chief Justice Mambilima to determine if the allegations against Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya lacked merit.
“We have another issue of petition in the maize gate scandal, people have been wondering because the Malawi [maize scandal] starts from Zambia so how was it possible that they found criminality on the other side and found none in Zambia? Because these people were working together. Now here is the thing, the role of a Chief Justice is not to make a decision outside the tribunal but to just set up a tribunal which must make recommendations and submit to her. She should not be defensive by taking it that just because she and Dora Siliya come from Eastern Province then she should keep quiet no! We want to detach ourselves from this kind of thing so that we can have a situation where we can see justice flowing,” he said.
And Mulongoti asked PF officials like Mumbi Phiri, Frabk Bwalya and Sunday Chanda to desist from making statements on behalf of government.
“The law does not provide for any provincial chairman, secretary general or whatever to speak on behalf of government because government has got employees called Ministers and Permanent Secretaries who are paid to speak for it. These people bena Sunday Chanda, Mumbi Phiri and Frank Bwalya have no authority to issue any statement on behalf of government. And as for Frank Bwalya, I have debated with him so many times and the other time I was debating with him on Pan African Radio and I asked him to say Mr Bwalya what status do you have in government? And he told me he is PF deputy whatever so I asked him to say why do you speak for government because you are not a government employee. I told him to leave the activities of the government and concentrate on activities of the party,” Mulongoti said.
“And we have a Chief Government Spokesperson who is just silent when we have all these issues on the country. This simply means that she doesn’t believe in what is happening and she is trying to protect her name. So this is what leads to issues of government management because the office of the Chief government spokesperson was created to bring order so that one person can speak for government on behalf of others.”
Meanwhile, Mulongoti said if South Africa’s DA leader Mmusi Maimane sued government over the way he was treated at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, he could win the suit.
“Attending court sessions over the treason trial has revealed a lot of ignorance and incompetence on the part of law enforcement officers in the country. Who doesn’t know that you can go on a plane to interact with a passenger on an international flight? You cannot do that because you can even be banned from a plane going to Zambia on that basis. I can tell this you this, Maimane will sue and he will be successful because his rights were infringed upon. I recall that even when GBM was leaving the country they wanted to remove him from the plane and it took airport authorities to say you cannot do that on a commercial plane,” said Mulongoti.